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The whole campaign has the feel of a campaign launch, a star-studded premiere, an event. Olympian bold-faced names, like Hayley Wickenheiser and Wayne Gretzky, grab the attention while two former prime ministers from different parties as patrons, Stephen Harper and Paul Martin, keep the whole thing floating above politics.
Sarah Rozema-Seaton has a superstition that taking photos of her pilot husband before he deploys has a protective effect.
“I’m a big believer that if you have something you never need to use it,” she said. It is like carrying an umbrella, thinking luck will conspire against you to make it sunny.
Her husband Erik is an air combat systems operator who has flown a huge turboprop transport plane into warzones and been deployed to Afghanistan half a dozen times.
Each time, a set of photos with their children, now 15, 12 and 10, serves as a similar sort of talisman, an insurance against fate.
“It’s different at each stage of their lives,” she said of the children, who have been pushed by the circumstances of often moving to become each others’ closest friends. Afghanistan was hard, as an effectively single parent, isolated and overwhelmed, needing to suppress fear to get through the day, the week.
“Part of making sure that your kids are OK is making sure that you’re OK,” she said. Military families tend to appreciate this, she said, and support each other as they can. “I don’t think that the Canadian population understands as well.”